WEREWOLF *** 2018 Poland Dir: Adrian Panek. 88 mins
Liberated from a concentraton camp, a group of children are brought by Russian soldiers to an abandoned mansion in the woods to live. Surrounded by woods and being stalked by a pack of vicious dogs, the group must figure out a way to survive.
WEREWOLF is a grey film. It’s bleak, but it’s a story about survival and banding together to overcome suffering against impossible odds. A group of children who have already experienced the absolute worst of humanity now have to jump more life-threatening hurdles. Their attempts to eat motor oil and resorting to licking dew off the walls because there’s no food or water are lingering, haunting scenes that capture the characters’ desperation—and the desperation real people faced after the end of WWII.
It’s a relentlessly miserable film, but it does provide a glimmer of hope that, when the tides begin to turn, feels like a refreshing breath of air. But it’s also an honest film—about the cruelty of people and the horrors of war, of trauma and the shadows it leaves behind. As much as it might hurt to watch, WEREWOLF gives us gripping insight into the darkness, and resilience, of humanity.
Review by Julia Lynch